THE NIGHT OF LUCK
Night had strolled in, bringing with itself the stroke of utter hopelessness as usual. That mere beam of darkness for the past one decade had seemed to Joe as if it would suck the life out of him any minute. One good thing yet prevailed about the darkness though, and that was to grab some very good sleep after the battlefield of the day, after having no such thing to lose that he would fear to death. Yet he felt very empty this night, because he had lost Flora tonight.
Flora, who happened to be his colleague at the workplace, had always encouraged him and motivated him to feel good about himself. She had said one evening after work to him,
“There is nobody else you would wish to be like or to be friends with when it comes to the down parts, Joe. Because it is you, and only you one can count on, no matter whatever you are.”
This wasn’t true of course, he had always thought so. Because Flora was there for him, she told off the others for him. She had stood there with him when everybody else had considered him dumb and clumsy. But why had she all of a sudden turned him down? Why had she, Flora, done this to him when it was the matter of his promotion, the most important thing in his life? He had wanted to be a ‘smart’ one too. And there she was, fully contented, smirking at him after passing her vote of no confidence in him?
Anger had raged, now he fully understood everything. Of course there were this ‘stupid survival of the fittest competition’ and ‘jealousy’ to attend to. He would never understand people in the first go. He wished he could!
Whatever it was and whoever Flora was weren’t the things Joe wanted to think of at the moment. He would always be clumsy, dumb and unfit among all those smart and well-fashioned people. So why bother? All he wanted was to get rid of this stinging hot weather and empty stomach. But he didn’t feel like eating anything at all. Joe walked along the streets, towards his empty apartment. Then suddenly, having no urge to face that dark and disappointed place again, he sat on the footpath. He felt too tired and old for his age. Happiness would never even kiss his life, he was a born sorrow.
All blank and tired, Joe kept staring at the opposite street light for a very long time; the light was unfocused though, for he was somewhere else. He was slowly and dreamily coming out of his thoughts, for his gaze was being disturbed by something unusual, a yellowish light getting stronger with those tiny moments. It took him a while to realize, but the instant he realized, his senses started working very fast. A building had caught fire.
Joe jumped to his feet and started running towards the place. He couldn’t see anybody outside for it was past midnight, and everybody was surely asleep. He could only see an old poor guard to get through the situation. Joe couldn’t make sense of himself but he was being very fast. The first thing he did was to call the Rescue. Then he started working on his own, and tried his best possible efforts to get through the fire. But the fire was an extremely vigorous one and the smoke very dense. He told the old guard to alert all the surrounding areas to get out safe. He then tried the back side and found it less dangerous comparatively, so he went inside and found everything in fire. He almost burnt himself with the wood falling from the threshold and after some time, he could feel many burns on his skin. But Joe wouldn’t surrender because it was the real test of life, and the burns were worth it! Joe kicked the locked door, but couldn’t open it. He then kept kicking it, until at last it opened, about time. Joe found the couple asleep with their two babies. Dead or fainted, he was not sure of, nor was it the matter of question at the moment. All he wanted was to carry them out safe, to keep them from the cruel fire all around them.
Joe tried to carry the kids first, and in the second round, he tried some water and his jacket to just make his way out of the fire, to the rest. He did succeed, and it wasn’t as easy as it sounds. He had put his life at stake for it. He had received severe burns and gone through a lot of hardships. On the final return, when he had rescued all the four, he found out that the rescue team had arrived by then, ready to do their work.
It took Joe sometime to take a proper breath and begin to feel everything around him. He finally checked the victims and found out that despite some burns, they were all alive. With the entire neighboring crowd looking at him with gratitude, for he had saved their lives too – the guard had told everyone so. He was still there, describing Joe’s heroic efforts. He got the first Aid, meanwhile the Media were taking pictures of him. Joe couldn’t believe what he had done, but all he could feel was great. Later, he got back to his apartment, and could sleep a sound and satisfied one after a long, long time.
The next morning when Joe got to work, he found out that everyone’s tone had changed towards him. He found his picture on the page of newspapers, that, he had noticed on his way to office. Everybody was praising him and some even proposed to befriend him.
But the silver lining to all this was that the government had announced a great reward for his noble services. That day was yet to come, and he was feeling ecstatic already.
And then, finally, it occurred to him that it is not the swag or your degrees and competence that matters, whatever matters after all is that you make a better understanding of yourself and your life, that you know the real meaning of it, love your fellow beings, and make their life easier just as yours. Petty issues never occurred to Joe anymore, for he had build belief in himself, the belief that the incident had given him.